3.0 Interest

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate
links, including eBay, Amazon, Skimlinks, and others.


Apr 19, 2009
Bealeton, Virginia
Yes I know there are alot of threads on this, but I didn't want to hijack anyones thread. If I find one that answers my ?'s ill request this thread be deleted.....anyhoooo.....I am interested in the 3.0. If head gasket was replaced by either stealership or a trusted garage with an after market gasket, would there be the risk of it blowing the gasket again? Is it just the design of the motor/coolnig system that causes the gasket to blow regardless of replacement/maintenance? This is kinda the issue that would cause me to either get a 93-95 4runner or just skip them all together. :wrench:
They will go again eventually due to the design of the engine. I've got probably 30K on my new gaskets and its still running strong. I did mine in my carport in a weekend and it cost me about $250-$300 in parts.
IDK... I put an unknown V6 out of a 89 V6 2WD into my 94 4Runner... And beat the ever loving krap out of it, and never had a problem...

I've towed with it, power broke it and constantly drifted it... I shifted it like a manu-matic, and with it's 4:56's and ECT, it stayed mostly up towards the redline...

If it wasn't in 2 hit and runs, didn't have a leaking intake gasket and didn't have sticking clutches I'd still be driving it... A thirsty bastard, but a running trouble free bastard none the less...

If I had my druthers, 88 and 89 V6's would be the only block I ever used... B/c that's about the only reason I know it's made it through what I put it through...

:meh: IDK...

The 88's and 89's had a 14mm 12pt socket to get the head bolts off. The rest had a 13mm 12pt socket... Now, assuming the bolts were 1mm larger, how many bolts hold a 3.0 V6 head on?

Now multiply that by that # by 1mm, and you'll start to see why...
Last edited:
They will go again eventually due to the design of the engine.

I don't agree with this.

I have owned 2 of these engines, both HG were replaced by Toyota. Both now have over 100K on the replaced gaskets, no issues. I have several friends with the same experience. In fact, I don't know of anybody locally that has had the replacement gaskets fail. Yes, I know it happens, but IMO I think it's rare.

I have less issue with the HG than I do with the overall design of the engine, mostly when it comes time to work on it. I *hate* working on that engine.
i agree with klf, i hate working on my wife's 95, give me a 22re any day simple and easy to work on.
also in my experience with them both the 22re, has better torque when pulling a trailer.
I just did a head gasket replacement on a 3.0 liter, the gaskets had already been done once by Toyota dealer. Took the heads to have them re-surfaced flat and my engine builder was showing me how he could tell someone had used a "brillo pad" type air grinder to remove the leftover head gasket material and messed up the gasket surface around the cylinder. I guess what I'm trying to tell you is that just because it was replaced by a dealer, doesn't mean it was done right. Being the heads were re-surfaced properly, I am hoping they will last a while this time.

I don't get the exhaust theory either, because it is the #1 and #6 that go bad. The exhaust thing makes sense on the #6, but why does #1 go bad too? I think it is head design, not exhaust.

Also, I know I'm going to catch A LOT of hell for this, but I used Fel-Pro gaskets because I liked the way they were designed better than the factory gaskets. O boy, here comes the hate mail.............:grinpimp:
I did 5 V6 head gasket changes last year. 5 out of 5 had trouble with the #6, and only 2 of them had other gasket issues, both on #3 cylinder. And one had a burnt valve on #3.....

I would own one, the power is a lot more fun than a 22RE, and with a 5 speed they are a blast I think. Yes it sucks to work on them, but it's a Toyota, you don't have to work on them that often...
I bought a '90 Runner, 120K miles, the headgaskets had been done by the dealer. At ~140K miles, burned #6 exhaust valve. Pulled the heads, a well respected independent import machine shop rebuilt them and talked me into using an after market gasket set. Blew at #6 within 10K miles. The gasket maker claimed a manufacturing issue, offered new gaskets or refund, took the refund and installed dealer gaskets.

It continued to reliably make all of the gas mileage of a V8 with none of the power, typical 3.slo. I sold after getting the LX450 with about 220K miles. It was a pretty good truck, but the LX450, way out wheels it, gets the same or better gas mileage, is bigger/more room/more comfortable and is way faster. :hillbilly:

The "problem" as I have heard it: When this motor was designed, asbestos was the gasket material of choice. It was one of the best materials ever, took a huge beating, allowed for relatively thin gasket margins/surface area, etc. It was outlawed for gasket use in mid '89, leaving manufactures in a lurch. They obviously could not redesign all of their motors, so had to scramble to find a new material, this was more successful on some motors than others, with the 3.slo being one of the worst. This problem affected lots of motors through the early/mid nineties, including the 80 series.

I like the 2nd gen Runners, with a straight axle conversion they make great wheelers. A couple that I wheel with have 3.4L swaps, makes for a great rig, better power, mileage and very reliable. Two more local rigs are now getting the conversion, both bought wrecks and are swapping motors.
I don't agree with this.

I have owned 2 of these engines, both HG were replaced by Toyota. Both now have over 100K on the replaced gaskets, no issues. I have several friends with the same experience. In fact, I don't know of anybody locally that has had the replacement gaskets fail. Yes, I know it happens, but IMO I think it's rare.QUOTE]
(1990 v6 4x4)
i think my replacement gaskets failed. just bought the truck with 230k for $2200. was at Toyota getting the steering recall done so i asked if/when the HG was done, told me had been done @110k, oh well.
I have an 89 V6, 5 spd and we have owned the thing since new. Never had a burnt valve and still has original head gaskets, the truck has over 300,000 miles on it. The only thing thats ever been done were the valve covers really b/c it was leaking oil so bad... I love my 3.0.:cheers:
I bought a bumper off a MUD guy who had over 500K miles, with no issues, on his 90's 3.0 before turning it in during cash for clunkers.
The 3.0 always treated me well!! Ive had a 88, 90, 92. All over 100k and I put about 150k on the 3 of them. They do suck to work on but honestly I never really had to work on them. With the 5 speed it was a BLAST in my 88 4runner! I had more fun driving that truck fast than I ever did with my '90 300zx or my 3.4 5speed 4runner I have now. So I would be doing the motor a diservice if I didnt atleast stick up for it a bit.

The HG issue has a bunch of theorys about what caused it and what causes it...My favorite theory, and the one I think makes some sense is...In 1990 The US banned Asbestos in HG's. So the japs had to redesign a new HG on the fly. Which explains why the 88-89 and some 90's seem to have much less HG issues.... Then I hear if a HG blew then the dealer would just put in another crappy HG, until the mid 90's when Toyota developed a better HG for this.

The camry 3.0 is based on the same block and it doesnt have these problems....I know the heads are different but the cooling passasges had to meet up so I bet the cooling is similar.

#6 does have it the toughest....while I dont think it is the root cause of the issue (as many v6's have the same exhaust design including the 3.4) it doesnt help and definatly creates a good spot for the bad gasket to fail.

The bigger studs in the early models (as stated in this thread) is new to me....but interesting if its true.

Having said all that I do not think I will ever buy another 3.0 truck with out first coming to terms with the possibility of a 3.4 swap in the future.
bought a 90 runner that needed a motor
bought a 90 rolled runner with a 206k engine in it
swapped did all gaskets except for HG
then drove it to texas from iowa 2days after swap

that was 9 months and about 10k miles ago and it still runs great!!

also have a 92 with 20x,xxx miles and no knowledge of its past and it still runs great...

if you can work on it get a 90-95 I prefer the looks too!!

My '95 just had the motor rebuilt at 171000+ miles. The shop wanted as much to pull the heads, as they did to pull the motor, so I went with a rebuild because of the mileage. In my case ( the way I see it ) it started with the cat plugging up over time, cutting down the exhuast flow, which burned a valve eventually. Part of the reason for the reduction of zinc levels in oil since '07, is it clogged cats. These motors aint much for power anyways, so with gradual clogging it would be hard to notice. A motor is basically an air pump, air in/air out. People will put K&N filters, cold air induction, etc on to get better performance, but what about the exhuast? Needless to say, I won't be having THAT problem again, rev's pretty free now :D . Anyways, thats my theroy. Al

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom